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How to Write Your First Job Resume?

how to write your first job resume

Are you getting ready to apply for your first-ever job

Many employers are likely to request a copy of your resume along with your application. This is an important hiring document, and it needs to be crafted carefully. Creating a resume if you have never done it before can feel like a daunting task. It is important to make sure you include all the details that could help you gain an interview. 

So, let’s take an in-depth look at how to write your first job resume so that it impresses hiring managers.

The Importance Of A Resume

The Importance Of A Resume

When a job is posted, there are likely to be several applicants. Even if you are asked to complete a standard application form, there will be limited space to present yourself. These application forms are often generic, and it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle.

A well-crafted resume allows you to stand out from the crowd and get the edge on the competition. It allows you to present your valuable skills and demonstrate how you approach certain tasks. If you do a good job of creating this document, the hiring manager will be impressed and arrange an interview.

Read more: Leadership Interview Questions

Steps To Making Your Resume Impactful 

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is submitting a generic resume that says nothing about you. If the information is poorly presented, the hiring manager is likely to reject your application. Here are the steps you can take to make this document as compelling as possible.

Read the job post carefully

Make sure you understand what the job involves and have the necessary skills and abilities. Even if you do not have any work experience, you still might be the strongest candidate for the job. You need to be able to picture yourself doing the job and think about the skills you would use.

Learn about the company and job

You need to find out as much about the role and company as possible before applying. This includes learning about the company culture and the things the company is known for. If possible, reach out to current and former employees and ask them for information. You should also be able to find the information you need on the company’s website. 

Decide what makes you a strong candidate

Once you understand the job and company better, you should understand what the hiring manager is looking for. You now need to decide which of your skills and attributes are likely to be the most valuable. You must include outstanding elements that are particularly appealing and make the hiring manager want to know more. 

List your skills and attributes

Write down as many words you can think of to describe your personal and professional skills. These can be anything that you excel at that makes you a valuable employee. Try to think of words that also highlight your personality and approach to work.

Examples of skills and attributes include:

  • Diligent
  • Dependable
  • Organized
  • Efficient
  • Compassionate
  • Hardworking
  • Dedicated
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable

Research resume keywords

It’s time to take another look at the job post and analyze the keywords carefully. This will indicate the types of keywords you should highlight in your resume. Doing this will show that you have done your research and are the right fit for the job.

While reviewing the job description, note the keywords for specific qualifications and skills. You should then compare this list with the list of your skills and attributes. Any keywords that match should be highlighted to show that you are a strong candidate.  

Applicant tracking system

Most large companies use applicant tracking systems to filter applications before they are passed onto hiring managers. Including these keywords means that your application is more likely to be selected. Try to sprinkle these keywords throughout your resume in a natural way. 

For more information, check out our in-depth guide to Resume Action Verbs and Power Words.

Choose the Right Type 

The overall appearance of the document is almost as important as the information it contains. There are three main accepted types of resumes that hiring managers expect to receive. Let’s take a closer look at each of these types so you can choose the right one for your application. 

Choose the Right Type 

Chronological resume

As the name suggests, you list your education and experience in chronological order if you choose this style. You start with your most recent achievements and work your way backward. This makes it easy for hiring managers to quickly scan your document. However, this can make you look a little inexperienced if you don’t have a lot of details to add. 

Functional resume

This type of document is used to highlight your accomplishments and skills. This is done by placing these attributes at the top so that they do not go unnoticed. They help make up for a lack of work experience and show hiring managers what you have to offer. 

Combination resume

This style combines elements of functional and chronological styles. This is a good option for people with a lot of work experience who want to change industries. You can use this style to highlight your transferable skills and experience.

If you are applying for your first job, you probably have little or no work experience. Therefore, it is usually best to choose the functional style. You can present your skills and personal attributes so that your lack of experience is not so noticeable. 

The Resume Objective

The objective statement is a short paragraph that appears at the top underneath your contact information. This paragraph is also known as a resume statement and provides a summary of your relevant skills. This is one of the first things the hiring manager reads, and it needs to have an impact.

Hiring managers usually read the objective statement to quickly determine if candidates are the right fit. They use this paragraph to determine if they need to read the rest of your document. If your skills and experience are not properly highlighted in this paragraph, the rest of the document will be worthless.

The Resume Objective

The type of work you’re looking for…

You need to briefly describe your strengths and experiences in this paragraph. Provide insight into the type of work you are looking for and what you have to offer. It is a good idea to study examples of objective statements to get a feel for the structure and style. 

Highlight Your Skills

You need to include a mixture of hard and soft skills throughout your resume. Hard skills are the skills that you have learned through your education and training. This is the knowledge and expertise that you will bring to the role.

Soft skills are transferable and can be applied to most types of jobs. These skills are part of your personality and reflect how you approach and tackle different tasks. These are the aspects that will make it easier to do your job and excel at different assignments. 

The requirements of the job…

You need to consider the requirements of the job carefully when selecting which skills to highlight. Try to weave at least two hard skills and two soft skills into your objective statement in a natural way. This will show hiring managers that you have what it takes to do the job well. 

Hard skills to highlight include:

  • Office skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Engineering degree
  • Advanced coding in HTML
  • EMT certification

Soft skills to highlight include:

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Persuasion
  • Leadership skills
  • Decision-making

Create an Education Section

If you are a recent college graduate, this section of your resume is where you shine. You can use it to provide details of the courses you have completed and what you learned. Make sure you highlight details that are directly connected to the role you are applying for.

Having a detailed education section makes up for a lack of work experience. It shows hiring managers that you have been focused on your education and gaining marketable skills and knowledge. You can also highlight any specific credentials and certifications that help you stand out from the crowd.

Create an Education Section

Relevant education includes:

  • Your diploma, degree, or certificate
  • The year you received your credentials
  • Your specialization, major, and minor
  • Additional academic achievements
  • Your GPA

Outline Your Relevant Experience

If you already have a little work experience, you can dedicate a section to it at the end of your resume. Even if the experience doesn’t seem connected to the role you are applying for, find a way to connect it. To do this, briefly describe the things that you learned that you will apply to the new role. This shows hiring managers that you have worked on developing the skills they are looking for.

Even hobbies can be included in this section if you put the right spin on them. If you played in a sports team, this shows that you have collaboration and teamwork skills. 

Types of relevant experience include:

  • Part-time jobs
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Extra-curricular work
  • Leadership roles

Work On A Tailored Cover Letter 

It is a good idea to include a cover letter when submitting your application. This is your opportunity to address the hiring manager directly and connect with them. This gives your application a personalized touch that can help you to be more memorable.

Ideally, you should be able to email your cover letter directly to the employer or hiring manager. You need to stand by finding out the best person to contact and using their name and job title. The human resources department of the company should be able to provide you with this information.

Work On A Tailored Cover Letter 

Tailor your cover letter…

The cover letter should be pasted in the body of the email and be directly tailored to the job. It should consist of three or four short yet impactful paragraphs. This allows you to provide a little extra information about your skills and qualifications.

You also need to make it clear that you are interested in the role and what you have to offer. You can do this by connecting your cover letter to the job description and responding to the requirements. To do this effectively, each cover letter you send should be carefully researched and written. 

A cover letter should include:

  • Your name
  • Your strongest skills and experience
  • Evidence that you can do the job well
  • Your interest in the job
  • Evidence that you have researched the company
  • The connection between your values and those of the company
  • Your intention to secure an interview

Tips For Creating A Compelling Resume

Crafting the perfect resume is an art form, and it takes practice and patience. You may find that it takes time to get the tone just right and highlight the most important information. Here are some tips that can help make the process a little easier. 

Tip For Creating A Compelling Resume

Keep it short

The hiring manager needs to be able to scan your document in a minute or two and find the relevant information. If your document is too long and dense, it is likely to be rejected right away. It is best to try and stick to a single page and make sure all the information is clearly presented. 

Make sure your skills are highlighted

The main point of this document is to show what you have to offer. In most cases, strong skills can make up for a lack of concrete work experience. If you are relying on certain skills to secure an interview, make sure those skills are not buried. 

Show who you are

Most hiring managers want to get a sense of the personality and priorities of candidates. This will give hiring managers a sense of how you approach work and your priorities. This will also help the hiring manager visualize you doing the job and will increase your chances of securing an interview. 

Choose the correct formatting 

You need to choose one of the three standard format styles when creating the document. Make sure you stick to black and white so that the document can be processed by the applicant tracking system software. Deviations from the expected format are likely to make you look unprofessional. Although it may be tempting to add a photo of yourself, don’t do this unless you are specifically asked to. 

Read the instructions carefully

Certain hiring managers have strict rules and expectations when it comes to the application process. The job description is likely to outline how you need to apply and the information to include. Failing to follow these instructions is likely to mean that your application is rejected. 

Be enthusiastic

The hiring manager should get the sense that you genuinely want to do the job and work for the company. Instead of simply focusing on the financial reward, you should be passionate about the industry. This will make your work much more rewarding and indicates that you are more likely to work hard. 

Highlight what you can contribute

It is important to let hiring managers know that you will be a valuable employee. The best way to do this is by connecting your skills to the duties of the job. This demonstrates that you understand the job and will be able to bring direct value to the company.

Proofread and edit

One of the biggest errors you can make is submitting a document full of spelling and grammar mistakes. This will indicate to the hiring manager that you are careless and unprofessional. Read the document to yourself out loud and ask someone else to check it if possible.

Additional Advice On Resumes

To create the perfect resume, check out our guides to the Best Resume Introduction Examples, the Resume Accomplishments Examples, and the Best Font for a Resume, along with the Best Free Resume BuildersHow to Tailor Your Resume to a Specific Job Description, and the Top Hard Skills to Put on a Resume.

Secondly, let’s take a look at How to List Cum Laude on a Resume, the Best Professional Resume Writing Services, and how to list Work Experience on a Resume, as well as the Best Opening Statement Examples For Resumes, the Best Resume Format Guide, and Does A Resume Need An Objective in 2023?

You might also be wondering How Long Should A Resume Be, the difference between a CV vs Resume, and How Many Years You Should Go Back On A Resume, followed by How To Show A Promotion On Your Resume, the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, and finally, How To List References On A Resume.

Final Thoughts

Although applying for your first job can be challenging, it can also be exciting. The key is avoiding being intimidated and showing hiring managers what you have to offer. The best way to do this is by creating a strong and compelling resume.

You need to take the time to tailor your resume to each role you apply for. It needs to present skills and personal attributes that are directly connected to the job and industry. If you have done your research and crafted the document carefully, this is the first step to securing the job.

All the very best creating your first resume!

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About Wendy Young

Wendy runs an employment agency with her husband, Ian, in Rochester, New York.

She loves nothing more than hosting a good dinner party and spends weeks intricately planning her next 'event.' She often uses these to introduce clients to potential employers in a relaxed, informal fashion. The food must be delicious, the cocktails and wine must be a perfect match, and the decor needs to impress without being over the top. With all that going on, it's amazing that she gets any time to write about her thoughts on securing the dream job.

They live on the outskirts of New York with their poodle, Princess.

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